A Hoosier Appraiser on the Value of Preparation at Antiques Roadshow

From what to bring to where to sell, this Indiana native and former Roadshow regular has some advice for those attending the July 9 taping in Indianapolis.
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In the 19 years Antiques Roadshow has traveled the U.S., only one appraiser ever has hailed from Indiana. Gregory Kuharic volunteered as an appraiser during the show’s first few seasons from 1997 to 1999. During that time, the Indiana native learned the ins and outs of the show. He has seen a lot of pieces that aren’t worth anything, but he also has come across plenty of items worth more than $10,000. Here, a few tips from Kuharic to help you make the most of Antiques Roadshow’s stop in Indy on July 9.

When to arrive:

The event begins at 8 a.m., but you shouldn’t show up more than 30 minutes before the entrance time on your ticket. You will not be allowed in before your allotted time. If you miss your time, you have until 5:30 p.m. to get in line.

What kind of wait to expect:

You’ll most likely spend several hours in line waiting for your item to be appraised. And if you’re bringing a painting, expect an even longer wait time. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a lightweight, portable chair if you think you’ll have trouble standing for that long.

How many items to bring:

No more than two, but at least one. If you show up empty-handed, you won’t be allowed to stay.

What to bring:

Ceramics, glass, books, manuscripts, jewelry, and watches are common items worth getting appraised. Only bring items that are easily portable and not so fragile you’re concerned about breaking them.

What not to bring:

Furniture that hasn’t been approved beforehand if it can’t fit through a standard door. Some items will not be appraised, like vehicles, tools, and stamps. A complete list of items that will be turned away can be found here.

How to prep your item for appraisal:

When in doubt, don’t wash it. “If it’s something that’s really dirty and filthy, and it came out of a cupboard and is covered with dust and grease, I think it’s a courtesy to wash it,” Kuharic says. “But if it’s metal, or if it’s something that is in a distressed state, leave it alone. I remember seeing several sculptures or pieces of metal that had been cleaned to within an inch of their life.”

How to handle weapons:

Firearms should be unloaded—no ammunition is permitted. All swords should be sheathed, and any blade needs to be wrapped so no one can be injured by it. All firearms will be checked at the entrance.

Why you need expert advice:

Fakes can be deceiving. “It takes a real appraiser to establish value,” Kuharic says. “You can’t just look at something that looks similar to something else, and decide it’s the same one. Many things look alike, and of course, many reproductions out there fool a lot of people.”

Where to sell once the Roadshow confirms an item’s value:

Only reputable auctions. “Selling things to individual dealers is probably not the wisest,” Kuharic says. “It could often be the quickest way, and of course, online auction forums are available to anybody. But if you have something very valuable, it’s probably best to go through one of the major auction houses to maximize the value of something.”